For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 32

Victim and Witness Background
Investigations
Who is the purported victim? What is the
victim's background, criminal record, civil litigation
history, arrests, and address history? This is a small
sampling of what the investigator should be
looking for regarding the victim. A detailed profile
of the victim should be provided to counsel. If
possible, the victim should also be interviewed
by the investigator. I have worked several PCRA6
cases during which I have shown the victim a
picture of the defendant and his response was
"Who is that?"-this makes for a great affidavit or
recanted statement.
Witness Interviews and Statements
The investigator can help to locate witnesses
that were mentioned in the reports and take
impartial statements or affidavits. Sometimes
subsequent witness statements will contradict
the original statements to police. Further, while
speaking to witnesses the investigator will
oftentimes learn of additional witnesses that were
not previously identified. It is also important
to conduct detailed background checks on all
witnesses. The investigator can also alert the
attorney to any hostile or damaging witnesses
whose testimony would be counterproductive to
the defense.
Report of Investigation and Testifying
The investigator should be present and assist
with all proffers, depositions and trials. The
prosecution will have its detectives present. The
defense investigator is intimate with the case
details, witnesses, victim, defendant, and all other
facts of the case. He can assist with filling in the
blanks or providing the facts that he uncovered
during his impartial investigation. The prosecution
may still use pretext, unorthodox methods and
good cop/bad cop coercions during the proffer.
The client should have both his investigator and
attorney present to represent him.
What should my report look like? If requested
by the attorney, a Comprehensive Report of
Investigation can be completed by the investigator.
The report should include a synopsis of the
case, details about the investigative case review,
summary of defendant interview, witness and

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Vol. 4, Issue 2

victim interviews, crime scene description and
analysis, a timeline of events and summary of
investigation and findings.
Additionally, it is a good strategy for the
investigator to prepare investigative memos for
the attorney labeled "Attorney Work Product,
Privileged and Confidential" to update the defense
team with pertinent information regarding the
investigation.

Fifth, Let Me Help You During Voir Dire
An investigator can provide background
information for the attorney during jury selection.
What do you really know about each juror? Would
it be helpful to know about the juror's criminal
history, judgments, liens, marital status, family
members, political affiliation and social media
activity? The investigator's background profiles
of jurors (pre- or post-trial) can help the attorney
develop a line of questioning to establish possible
bias, support a challenge for cause, make decisions
during the voir dire or support a request for mistrial
because of jury misrepresentation and deception.

Sixth, Understand that Social Media is
an Integral Part of Every Investigation
Social media due diligence should be conducted
in almost every segment of the investigation.
Therefore, it deserves to be listed in a category
by itself. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Vimeo, LinkedIn
and YouTube have become an integral part of every
investigation. Social media can be researched for
information related to the crime scene, the crime
itself, witnesses, victims, the investigating officers,
and possibly even the prosecution.
There are also numerous mobile payment apps
like Venmo (owned by PayPal) that should be
included during the social media review. Mobile
apps like Venmo have different privacy settings.
Users commonly allow their privacy settings to
remain public permitting anyone the opportunity
to search for them. If the settings are public, we
can see payments that the users sent or received,
to whom or from whom the payment was sent or
received, and often the reason why the mobile
payment was sent or received. This information
can help to deduce valuable information such



For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 1
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 2
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - Contents
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